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Old 06-14-2019, 11:09 PM   #1
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Question for perspective wood boat buyer

Hi,
I am considering a Grand Banks 36 or 42 for live aboard, through research I have found that wood is much cheaper that fiberglass. I love the twin Lehmanís so I would not want a boat 80 or newer. I have lots of boating experience but little with wood and wood maintenance (but have done lots of research). Would a wood boat be a good choice or would it be better to continue to look into the fiberglass boats. Input is much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2019, 02:24 AM   #2
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I'm a former shipwright and built and repaired big wood boats and small ships. I live on an 83' wood boat built in 1942.
Wood has to be protected. If you let the maintenance go too long and water enters through cracks in paint, caulking, or leaky decks, you have rot. If you have to hire someone to repair it's expensive. In salt water you have to keep a good bottom paint that not only stops marine growth, but keeps wood eating works out of the planking and keel. The salt water itself isn't harmful. The salt preserves. Most people add borate or rock salt to their bilge so a very salty water soaks in and preserves keelson, ribs and bottom planking.
If you use premium paint, etc., you can spend less time doing maintenance, but it's still more than fiberglass and wood boats are generally a steady loss in value. On the other hand, you get a lot more boat for the money.
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:40 PM   #3
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So I've linked this before and will probably link it many times in the future as well. So you think getting a wooden boat is cheaper:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=5BCLaNrAmbY
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:53 PM   #4
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Reason wood is cheaper is because it is a lot more maintenance....
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:26 PM   #5
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Reason wood is cheaper is because it is a lot more maintenance....
But you have so much more money available to pay for that maintenance.
At the rate we have spent it every year for the last 3, probably several lifetimes worth.

If we bought comparable plastic vessel, we would be out truckloads of money up front and still pay for maintenance, though admittedly a few grand less/year.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:33 PM   #6
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There are plenty of older trawlers out there for sale with stout fiberglass hulls and glass over plywood topside that can be had inexpensively.

I have a lot of experience with wood boat restoration and I would not want to own a wood hull. Hull work require haul outs which are expensive. The wood hull will need bottom paint more frequently. Any repairs to the hull will require expensive wood and quite a bit of skill.

A fiberglass hull require less maintenance and less skill required to make repairs.

Top side repair require less skill and can be done in your slip at your leisure.

If you are set on a Grand Banks and can not afford a glass one then a woody is your destiny.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:42 PM   #7
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. Hull work require haul outs which are expensive. The wood hull will need bottom paint more frequently. Any repairs to the hull will require expensive wood and quite a bit of skill.

A fiberglass hull require less maintenance and less skill required to make repairs.
.
Regardless of hull type they still need to come out of the water for antifouling every year or two.

Cost of haul out is based on size of vessel, not what its made out of.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:55 AM   #8
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Regardless of hull type they still need to come out of the water for antifouling every year or two.

Cost of haul out is based on size of vessel, not what its made out of.
Older wood hulls will require more lay days.

Fiberglass hulls require light sanding and another coat of bottom paint. 1 to 2 days.

Older wood hull usually require more sanding before paint and there is always a plank or seam to repair.

The sides of the wooden hull will need paint periodically.

The hull sides on an older fiberglass hull may be chalky but can be left that way.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:33 PM   #9
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Watch the video I linked to above, its not only about paint but replacing planks etc. Don't think I'm discouraging you from owning an older boat, mine is 50 years old. As original build, it was glass over wood. So when you look into my bilge area, you'd be convinced the entire inside and outside is wood with no glass.

The boat has undergone a complete over haul and everything inside below the deck has been removed and replaced. The only soft spot was on the transom which has been fixed.

Original build glass over wood is also a good way to go. The problem with glass over wood is that some guy had a problem wood hull and his solution was to glass it all, often these glass jobs weren't done well, hence a bad reputation for glass over wood.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:49 PM   #10
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The worst part of owning a wood boat is probably hearing the negative stuff from FG boat owners that know next to nothing about wood but talk like they are smarter than a dumb wood boat owner. People seem to think older things are worthless and people that don’t put them down aren’t very smart.

That said there are many wonderful features of wood boats and more than a few FG nightmares that will never happen to a wood boat owner.

I have a comment that probably won’t come from anybody else that will be worthwhile if you find a single engined GB. It’s all about weight. Intending to live aboard you will need the capacity to put things like a washing machine, dish washer, big TV (they are heavy) and much else that you might find in a dirt house. The second engine amounts to about 4,000lbs that can be “spent” on more important stuff .. for you.

A widebody boat or even a sundeck may be a wiser choice for the soace they offer.

The salt in the bilge trick has a down side and that is corrosion of the fasteners becomes accelerated. A catch 22.

A downside to wood boats for a liveaboard is that wood boats are mostly old and old boats are mostly narrow. Quite narrow actually. The old Monk boats may be 2’ narrower than the GB’s. Even than the old GB’s. But older wood boats built by one of the “great” builders may likely be better than a newer wood boat.

Keep us a bit involved as you uncover rocks (so to speak) and don’t be hesitant to ask anything. I know your’e focused on GB’s but there are better boats than GB’s that may be better for a liveaboard or just plain better.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:04 PM   #11
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Older wood hulls will require more lay days.

Fiberglass hulls require light sanding and another coat of bottom paint. 1 to 2 days.

Older wood hull usually require more sanding before paint and there is always a plank or seam to repair.
Yep, like I said, an extra couple of days in labour and hardstand , so a few grand a year extra and this on our 60ft hull in Australia with high wages.
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The sides of the wooden hull will need paint periodically.

The hull sides on an older fiberglass hull may be chalky but can be left that way
.

So a few more days.
Been there done that on our 60 ft hull.
Coarse sanding, spot priming and rolling enamel was much faster and far cheaper than the cost of fine sanding, filling, fairing, masking and spraying two pack polyurethane paint on our previous much smaller fiberglass catamaran.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:13 PM   #12
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My wood hull is copper plated. Felt and tar underneath. I haulout about every 3-5 years, but spend about half my time in fresh water and the rest in cold northern waters. When cruising, I try to spend some time anchored in rivers to kill any salt water growth. I have a diver check the bottom and change zincs every year or so.
It that more haulouts than fiberglass?





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Old 06-17-2019, 07:22 PM   #13
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Lepke,
Got a picture of your boat?
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:54 PM   #14
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If the OP had any sort of wood boat experience, I would encourage him to buy the wood GB because I like wood boats and think they need to be saved/preserved.

But because the OP has little experience, he will either spend a lot of time learning to work on the wood boat or he will be writing a lot of checks to get the boat worked on or get overwhelmed by the enormity of what they got themselves into. I've seen too many people buy a wood boat and as the repairs add up, get discouraged because they can not do the repairs themselves or run out of money and sell the boat. And many give up boating after the experience.

I really like wood boats and spent my early boating days repairing, restoring and building wood sail boats. As I got older, I found that I enjoy boating more than working on them. My boat has a FG hull and glass over wood everything else. We've owned Sandpiper 19 years and I've replaced the boat deck, pilothouse roof, portugese bridge and repaired rotted wood on cabin sides. I have hundreds, maybe thousands of hours into these projects. Add in maintenance, rewiring and all the other work that is part of boating and that's a lot of work. These projects were done in my boathouse when I had time.

If I had a wood hull, who knows how many hours I'd spend on my back or knees repairing planks, caulking seams etc. Problems on the hull are have to's and the repairs need to be completed quickly because of the daily yard charges.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:19 PM   #15
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A lot of marinas will refuse to haul a wood boat. Liability due to rot causing damage while being hauled. I do love wood boats and planning to build a wood composite soon.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:36 PM   #16
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A lot of marinas will refuse to haul a wood boat. Liability due to rot causing damage while being hauled. I do love wood boats and planning to build a wood composite soon.
There are more and more marinas that even refuse to rent slips to wood boat owners.

I'm a former wood boat owner. Had a 1971, 37' Egg Harbor which in its day, was a popular, well built boat. In the first year I had it, 1998 I think, I spent over $10,000 in repairs and maintenance. I knew going into it, the boat needed maybe $2000 in work. Boy, was I wrong.

Never again.

Ever hear of Re-fastening? That is something wood boats have to do every 20-25 years. It is a dirty, time consuming, expensive project that fewer and fewer yards will do. If you are hell bent on buying a wood GB, find out the last time, if ever, it was re-fastened. If it is needed in the near future, plan on having a fat wallet ahead of time.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:19 PM   #17
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Whether you love wood boats or not, there are significant issues to deal with. As said before you may have a hard time getting hauled, you may have a hard time getting insurance, you may have a hard time finding a marina that will rent you a slip. I would never personally own a wood boat because of the above issues but also even though I love working on boats, I donít want the work that comes with a wood boat besides the other maintenance with a fiberglass boat. YMMV.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:58 PM   #18
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In the mid-70's every boat manufacturer had to make the choice whether to continue using wood, or spend a boat load of money to re-tool for fiberglass production. Despite the required overhead investment they all switched to fiberglass.

wood boats
VHS tapes
coal furnaces
sun dials
morse code
inkwells
polaroids
phonographs

There's a reason these things don't exist.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:10 PM   #19
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wood boats
VHS tapes
coal furnaces
sun dials
morse code
inkwells
polaroids
phonographs

There's a reason these things don't exist.
Actually, the Weems and Plath S-O-S light is fairly popular, so Morse code is still alive.
I'm sure there are more than a few specialty boat builders who still work in wood.
There are more phonographs being made these days than most people realize as true music purists will only play them as opposed to digital reproduction.

That being said, as a former wood boat owner, never again.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:39 PM   #20
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ok..so "don't exist" was a poor choice of words. "aren't in mainstream use" would have been better. Sure...audiofiles will never give up their vinyl, and select boat builders will still use wood..Caligraphers will use inkwells, and kids in science class will still build sundials.....but progress has found better alternatives than these things for most people.
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